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ICGB considers boosting capacity of the Greece-Bulgaria gas interconnector

Over 10.4 million megawatt-hours (MWh) have been transported through the Greece-Bulgaria gas interconnector since the launch of the pipeline on 1 October 2022. The amount equals 892 million cubic metres (mcm) and covers the period from the beginning of October to the end of April, when the IGB had a total of 16 registered users.

The total capacity of the IGB is 3 billion cubic metres (bcm) per year, with 1.57 bcm already booked under long-term contracts lasting up to 25 years. The remaining capacity is successfully being auctioned for different periods on the European platforms PRISMA and RBP.

From the early planning stage of the project, it has been envisioned that the interconnector could increase its capacity to 5 bcm per year if there is market interest in such expansion. This can be achieved by constructing a compressor station in Komotini, Greece, where the gas pipeline connects to the Greek gas transmission network and to the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline (TAP), giving Bulgaria direct access to the Southern Gas Corridor.

The independent transmission operator ICGB, which is responsible for the commercial operation of the new gas infrastructure, is actively considering options for such a capacity boost given the changed energy environment in the region and the general European efforts to secure new, safe routes for diversified supplies. To this end, ICGB plans to conduct a market test in the second half of 2023, indicating market attitudes towards such a step. Based on the results of the market test, the company’s shareholders (BEH and the Greek-Italian joint venture IGI Poseidon) will decide on the possible expansion of IGB.

The quantities of natural gas transported through the interconnector from the beginning of October 2022 meet more than one-third of Bulgaria’s domestic consumption needs in the winter season. The new infrastructure creates opportunities for natural gas transportation to other neighbouring countries in the region, including Moldova and Ukraine thanks to the possibility of connectivity with the Trans-Balkan Gas Pipeline.

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